Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How can agencies produce great Augmented Reality campaigns?

If you are an agency (creative, advertising, mobile or digital) and you are new to augmented reality (AR) it is not easy to decide how to convert a creative idea into a fully fledged AR app.

Where do you start? What AR components do you need? What are the ingredients for a great AR app, be it a game, a marketing app or a functional app? What would it cost and how long will it take? How do you measure the Return on Investment (ROI) for the app?

Here is are 4 pointers that you may find helpful:


Yes, it's true. Mention AR and instinctively people conjure images of 3D objects flying out of a mobile screen with complex graphic animation. True, you could do this is not always essential. Linking physical objects like a packet of cereals to a TV advert can be done easily and economically simply by using image recognition or tracking (tracking will allow you to view the video on top of the box instead of opening a new screen on your device).


Here is the tricky part -there are several components you could require for an AR app depending on the complexity of what you're looking to do. Take the IKEA AR shop catalogue for 2013 for example. This catalogue has 43 individual images dotted throughout the printed edition that link to digital content. Some link to videos (if you don't have these, you will need to produce them), some link to web pages (virtual stores where you can purchase items) and others still link to 3D animated computer graphics.

The production of the AR app required:

-a Tracking SDK
-an Image Recognition SDK
-creative computer graphics content
-mobile app development
-an AR creator platform to link "virtual buttons" to actual actions within the mobile app


This links to the first point..."keep it simple" is my advice. It is clear some use cases work better than others and that this varies according to who you are targeting. AR for retail and print works great. Augmenting a magazine, newspaper or catalogue offers clear, tangible benefits to the reader -you see new content that is helpful or entertaining. AR for retail apps makes sense since indoors, GPS doesn't work, so using physical objects or shop signs as pointers for the app to perform an action is a clever workaround. Scan the poster displayed in the shop window and see special offers, for example.


It depends but....simple AR apps can be developed for around $20-25,000 as a very general rule of thumb. Complex ones can easily cost $100,000+ (hence the keep it simple rule!). A marketing app will offer an intangible return in terms of brand awareness and brand loyalty. Other AR apps generate revenue and more than pay for themselves in terms of ROI: a museum app that acts as a guide (audio and video) and lets you scan the popular exhibits to get AR content when you want it, is often offered at a premium in app stores and can have a short payback period. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Augmented Reality 2.0 - From AR 1.0 (Hype) to AR 2.0 (Mainstream)

BARCELONA -I recently presented an overview of Augmented Reality to an interested customer describing some examples of note-worthy AR campaigns and how cloud-based image recognition helps solve many requirements of AR campaigns.

In fact, I believe we are now in AR 2.0, whereby AR is coming into the mainstream (thanks also to Google Glass) underpinned by powerful smartphones and 4G networks. Brands are coming on board, since consumers increasingly demand (and expect!) the physical products of their favourite brands to have a digital life. 

This AR experience can vary from a simple video or photo overlay to more complicated (3D) animations, though the latter have more of a gimmicky effect. Making AR work for brands means keeping it simple and focusing on the quality of the experience. This is where image recognition becomes key, being the gateway technology for AR and opening the path to enhance the user´s view of the world. 

It is also time to throw away notions of QR codes on print and objects being scanned by a user (nothing wrong however with users with QR codes on their phone being scanned themselves, e.g. for a airplane boarding pass). Applying QR codes for  marketing use cases never made much sense and was used for lack of a better option. Consumers everywhere (except Asia perhaps) have given a resounding no to this technology.

You can see below a selection of slides from my presentation: 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Augmented World Expo 2013 : AWE Summary and Video

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Augmented World Expo has come and gone, and if there ever was a doubt about the resurgence of interest in AR in general, then the doubling in size of the key global showcase expo for AR is good evidence of this trend.

Big brands are sitting up to take notice of the AR scene -the combination of powerful devices and 4G connections mean that technological former limitations are gone. Augmented Reality works great on mobile, and it loads fast.

Consumers are also getting excited- Google Glass is all about taking AR into the wonder CNET is saying that "AR is the next big thing in tech" and that estimates are that AR will surpass1 billion users by 2020 (Tomi Ahonen, AWE13).

We are now firmly in AR 2.0...welcome.

AR works better with the power of the cloud -there are several reasons for this that I introduced at AWE together with Catchoom CTO Tomasz Adamek.

Check out the video of the talk here: